How much you should settle your car accident case for is a complex question that requires careful consideration of several factors. No average car accident settlement amount will work for every person injured in a car accident. Therefore, it is essential to take the time to carefully value your case as you build your car accident claim for compensation.
You will want to settle your car accident case for a value that reflects what you will need to recover from your injuries. It is also crucial to ensure you include future losses into your settlement value to accommodate your long-term needs due to the accident.
Ensuring You Get All of the Compensation You Deserve
A vital part of determining how much you should settle your car accident claim for is identifying all of the different types of damages that apply to your case. Depending on the facts of your case, you may be entitled to receive a range of different damages for your injuries and other losses.
You will first want to include all of your economic losses for all of the tangible, verifiable losses you have due to the crash, including:
- Medical bills
- Future medical costs
- Lost income
- Future lost wages
- Lost earning capacity
- Property damage
- Assistive services
- Physical therapy
Next, you will want to determine which non-economic damages you can request for your subjective losses from the crash, such as:
- Pain and suffering
- Loss of enjoyment
- Loss of consortium
- Emotional distress
The specific damages you can request will depend on the facts of your case and the circumstances of the crash. Additionally, you may want to work with a lawyer to calculate a settlement amount that includes your future losses and includes the full scope of your case.
You Do Not Have to Take the First Offer
The insurance company will issue a low initial settlement offer in many cases. Their goal is to get you to agree to a quick settlement that is often less than the total value of your case to prevent you from seeking further legal action and more compensation down the road.
Many car accident victims miss out on the compensation they need to recover from their injuries by accepting the first offer from the insurer. You can issue a counteroffer and continue this process until they offer a value that represents the total amount of your losses and future expenses due to the crash. You may want to work with a car accident attorney to ensure your rights are represented during the negotiation phase.
Factors That May Affect Your Car Accident Settlement
As you calculate your car accident claim, it is essential to consider all of the factors that may affect the overall value of your case. Identifying how these factors may affect your final settlement amount can give you a better understanding of when to settle your car accident case.
Some of the factors that can affect your settlement include:
- The severity of your injuries
- The severity of your crash
- Your long-term prognosis
- Issues of fault or liability
- Estimated time to recovery
- The total of your losses
- The insurance policies involved
- The strength of the evidence
- Statements you made after the crash
- Your pre-existing conditions
- Elevating circumstances like DUI
Although this is not an exhaustive list, it gives you an idea of why it is challenging to present figures for an average car accident settlement. As you consider how much you should settle your car accident for, you will need to apply the facts of your case to the laws of your state to determine a specific figure that represents your unique accident.
How to Know When to Settle Your Car Accident Claim
To determine whether you should settle, you should ask yourself whether the settlement amount is enough to cover your losses. Generally, a settlement offer that includes at least 80 percent of the amount in your initial demand letter is considered a favorable amount.
However, the decision is yours, and you do not have to accept a settlement offer unless you agree to the terms. You can continue the process of offers and counteroffers or pursue your case even further if you cannot agree.
What Happens if the Insurance Company Won’t Offer a Fair Amount?
You may take your case to court if you cannot reach an amount that you believe reflects the total amount of your losses. First, you will need to file an official complaint with the court that has the jurisdiction to hear your case. This process will involve discovery, motions, and interrogations. Finally, you will present your case in court, in front of a judge and jury. The jury decides your settlement amount.
If you decide to pursue your case in court, it is recommended that you hire a lawyer to represent you. A car accident attorney can help you determine whether to pursue your case in court and help you meet the statute of limitations that applies in your case.
Maximizing Your Car Accident Settlement Amount
Although the final value of your settlement will depend on the specific facts of your case, there are steps that you can take that may help you get the maximum amount possible in your case.
Some of the steps that you may want to take to maximize your case value include:
- Never agree to make a recorded statement with the insurance company
- Carefully follow the exact treatment plan provided by your doctor to show how serious you are about recovery
- Stay off social media and try not to talk about your case too much as you navigate the claims process
- Gather the evidence you need to justify your amount and explain why you think the offer is inadequate
These are just a few of the steps you may be able to take in your case to help you get the settlement amount you deserve. It is essential to take a settlement offer for your car accident case that you feel adequately reflects the difficulty of life after the crash.